By Romer R. Butuyan
MANILA – To address what he described as a “wage distortion” in light of the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) circular that raised nurses’ salary grade to Grade 15”, Baguio City Congressman Mark Go filed a bill seeking to increase the minimum salary grade for public medical and health service professionals.
In the explanatory note of his House Bill (HB) 8138, the Baguio City lawmaker stated that “the implementation of the upgraded salary of nurses is a welcome development, albeit long overdue.”
“However, the same created a wide compensation disparity between nurses and other medical and health professionals serving in the public sector. The ongoing pandemic shed light upon the importance, struggles, and dedication of medical and healthcare professionals.” Go added.
With the country experiencing national health emergency due to the spread of the novel coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19, he said the government need to maintain and make sure that it has more than enough number of much-needed medical front-liners playing major role in combating the dreaded disease.
“Not only in response to the pandemic, but moving forward, it is essential in maintaining a healthy Filipino public that we dignify medical and health care professionals with compensation that is reflective of the qualifications they worked for, the mental and physical strain demanded in ensuring the health and wellness of our people, and the multitude of risks that goes along with it,” the lawmaker added.
Under the bill, salary grade of entry-level positions in certain health professions which include dentists, medical technologists, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, veterinarians, optometrists, nutritionist-dieticians, psychologists, radiologic technologists, respiratory therapists, midwives, and medical laboratory technicians will be upgraded from its current status.
In particular, Go, the chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, wants the entry level salary of government dentist to be put on Salary Grade 17 (P39,986); while for veterinarian, from Salary Grade 13 (P28,276), it will reach Salary Grade 16 (P36,628); optometrist, from Salary Grade 12 (P26,052) to Salary Grade 16.
For medical technologist, from Salary Grade11 (P23,877) to Salary Grade 15 (P33,575), as well as for nutritionist-dietician, occupational therapist, pharmacist, physical therapist, psychologist and radiologic technologist.
The government respiratory therapist meanwhile will receive a minimum monthly salary equal to Salary Grade 10 (P21,205); raise for midwife position will be from Salary Grade 9 (P19,552) to Salary Grade 11; and medical laboratory technician, from Salary Grade 6 (P16,200) to Salary Grade 8 (P18,251).
The bill also provides that “too maintain internal equity, the Salary Grade of higher positions shall be adjusted accordingly.”
Meanwhile, Go hopes that these salary upgrades “will uplift the country’s current medical and health service professionals and encourage them to serve the public.” (AI/FC/MTVN)